LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 17: Giovana Queiroz Costa of Everton runs with the ball with Mollie Lambert of Durham during the FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup match between Everton and Durham at The Marine Travel Arena on December 17, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Emma Simpson – Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images)

Everton fell to a 1-0 defeat in the Continental Cup to Championship side, Durham. There were 9 changes made to the Everton side that beat Tottenham, including two senior starts for Annie Wilding and Abby Clarke.

In the blues last game of 2022, an early goal from Lily Crosthwaite for the visitors was sufficient to secure victory at the Marine Travel Arena in Crosby. The match being moved to Marine F.C.‘s ground due to the pitch being frozen at Walton Hall Park and being unfit to play on. The result placed the Blues in fourth place of Group A as they wrap up their Continental Cup campaign.

Everton Women generated lots of early pressure, making a fantastic start to the game. However, the opposition did well to prevent the toffee’s from turning that pressure into any significant shots on goal.

The visitors then seized the lead in the 15th minute despite Everton having greater possession of the ball in the opening minutes . Lily Crosthwaite was able to beat Courtney Brosnan after Beth Hepple had intercepted a wayward pass in the middle of the field and was allowed to run unchallenged into the Everton half.

Durham gained some momentum after scoring the first goal of the game. Only 10 minutes later, Hepple snuck into the penalty area unnoticed to meet a cross and force Courtney Brosnan into action to save her header.

After a barrage of opportunities fell their way inside the penalty area, the toffee’s came dangerously close to forcing an equaliser. Clare Wheeler received the ball on the edge of the box and fired a strong shot that went directly into Naoisha McAloon’s arms despite Durham’s tenacious defence.

As the game went on, Everton began to settle in and had their greatest opportunity of the first half one minute before the interval when Leonie Maier provided a wonderful ball in behind to Aggie Beever-Jones, the Chelsea loanee curled the ball towards the net but her shot bounced off the post and went out for a goal kick.

Senior debutant, Taylor Howarth, replaced Gio at half time. The Brazilian had picked up a knock towards the end of the first half.

The opening opportunity of the second half was created by the opposition when Maria Farrugia’s accurate long-range shot was deflected over the crossbar by goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan. Captain, Izzy Christiansen, came the closest for the blue’s when she was played in by Karen Holmgaard, but her effort missed the target as Everton retaliated.

Manager Brian Sørensen, made a few more substitutions in the hope of trying to find an equaliser. Aggie Beever-Jones and Clare Wheeler were both replaced by Aurora Galli and Jess Park.

Everton kept up their aggressive efforts to level the score, and Christiansen came dangerously close to scoring once again in the dying minutes of the game before being stopped at the very last moment by a superb double save from Naoisha McAloon.

A huge congratulations to the 3 debutants that played in Saturdays match, they were excellent. In an interview with EvertonTV, Abby Clarke stated that “It was a great feeling, I think coming through the academy, growing up, it’s a dream come to true. I feel like it shows to other young girls out there that if you work hard, it will happen.”

The blue’s first game of 2023 is back at Walton Hall Park to face Reading in the WSL on the 15th of January. Kick off is at 1pm.

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